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What is an air fryer and how does it work?

An air fryer has become an increasingly popular addition to many people’s Christmas lists over the last few years. 

It’s no surprise why, either. Using an air fryer is a great way to quickly cook up crispy food using less oil than traditional frying methods and less energy than a conventional oven. This might leave you wondering: how does an air fryer work? 

We’ve put together this guide to explain what an air fryer is, along with how this nifty countertop appliance works to cook up crisp, crunchy results.

What is an air fryer and how does it work? 

An air fryer is essentially a small countertop convection oven – with a few added perks. 

Like convection ovens, air fryers use a fan to circulate hot air around the food they’re cooking. However, air fryers are significantly smaller, allowing the basket to heat up faster and food to cook more quickly. 

They’re also cheaper to buy, require less energy to run and can often produce crispier results than convection ovens. 

One drawback to using an air fryer is that there can be limited space. Basket sizes can range from 2L on budget air fryers to 9.5L or even higher on more high-end, two-drawer models. This means that you might find you need to cook your food in several batches depending on your budget and the amount of space available in your kitchen. 

Air frying is also a great alternative to deep frying for anyone looking to limit the amount of fat and calories they’re consuming. 

This is because air frying requires much less oil than deep frying. Where deep frying typically requires as much as 750ml of oil, an air fryer only requires 15ml of oil or one tablespoon. 

Despite the difference in oil required, studies have found that air-fried french fries possess a similar colour and moisture content to deep-fried fries, as well as substantially less fat. However, the texture wasn’t quite as crispy with the air-fried batch (via Healthline).

Despite this, an air fryer is an easy way to cook up delicious food in a short amount of time while also reducing both your fat intake and household energy consumption.

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